I am a Secretary. I took secretarial classes in high school. I went to college and got an Associate’s Degree in Executive Secretarial Technologies. If someone asks me what I do, I reply with a great amount of pride that I’m a secretary. I’m not an Administrative Professional – although I do administrative work and with over 20 years of experience, I would consider myself a professional. The boss calls me the Office Manager because it’s a more accurate description of what I do. I do everything – I type letters, I do internet research, I answer the phone, I open the mail, I do accounts payable and accounts receivable, I handle payroll, I’m the in-house IT geek. You name it, I do it. I took the secretarial classes in high school because I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I grew up and I knew that I could always count on the secretarial skills to help me find a job that paid more than minimum wage.
I don’t like the term Administrative Professional and threw a major hissy fit when I discovered that the name Secretary’s Day had been changed. And I really threw a hissy fit when I discovered that Administrative Profession applied to anybody that worked in an office. I worked for a company once that mandated (yes MANDATED) that each office worker would get flowers from the department manager and even mandated what kind of flowers that manager could buy (three roses in a bud vase). Okay, I understand that everyone that works in an office has a rough job and deserves some recognition, but to lump anybody that does any kind of office work into the same group as a secretary is just plain degrading to secretaries.
Now before everyone starts ranting and raving at me, let me explain that secretaries (especially secretaries that work for the company president or a high level VP) have to deal with some strange things. Here are some things that I’ve actually had to do as part of my job. Remember what kind of sandwich the boss likes from the deli. Picking up laundry. Waiting for a furniture delivery. Getting a cell phone installed in a car. Scheduling guitar lessons. Scheduling squash games. Booking vacation flights to Italy. Track down lost luggage from the vacation in Italy. Send luggage and other packages ahead and arrange for delivery to the vacation location so that the boss didn’t have to deal with it. Managing the bank account for the boss’ social group (collect fees, make deposits, prepare reports). I’ve often said that they should have included Early Childhood Development as part of the curriculum because there are times when I would describe the job I had to do as "holding hands and wiping noses" and the group dynamics of some of the companies I’ve worked for would rival a kindergarten class.
Yea, there are some secretaries that probably don’t deserve the special recognition that they will get today. But there are those of us that do. We are good at what we do. We work hard and put up with a lot of crap. Is it too much to ask for one special day?